HAPPY DAYS – Defending champions

Scotties Tournament entertaining until the last rock

  • Wed Jan 28th, 2015 4:24pm

Two talented teams of curlers battled for the title of Team Alberta, with the defending champions of Team Sweeting taking home the gold at the 2015 Jiffy Lube Scotties Tournament of Hearts last weekend.

Val Sweeting, Lori Olson-Johns, Dana Ferguson and Rachelle Brown played a close match against the team of Chelsea Carey, Laura Crocker, Taylor McDonald and Jen Gates for the championship title.

End for end, the teams were close in points until a three-point end brought Team Sweeting into a lead, and eventually, another championship title and the official name of Team Alberta.

“It’s amazing. This is one of our big goals all season – we wanted to win provincials and get back to the Scotties. It’s been such a great season that we hope to continue on in Moose Jaw. It’s an honour representing Alberta,” said skip Sweeting.

“It’s been a really good competition and really good week. I am just so proud of the girls for pulling through. We expected it to be close, and (Team Carey) made some really good shots to keep it close. They’re a good team, and we know that’s going to happen, so we just tried to keep control and have that shot for the win.”

The two teams were extremely close for the first half of the draw, with each team at three points by the fifth end.

However, three points brought Team Sweeting into the lead in the sixth end. Team Carey tried hard to catch up, but lost by two points with the final score being 9-7.

Carey and her team faced Heather Nedohin, Amy Nixon, Jocelyn Peterman and Laine Peters in the semi-final round, coming out on top with a score of 7-5.

Returning as champions, Sweeting said she and her teammates were playing under a spotlight. They managed to work together through their season and come out as provincial champions once more.

“We kind of had a similar mindset as we did last year. We were coming off a pretty good season as well and so we just knew that we’d have a bit of a target on our backs, but we tried not to focus on that. We just wanted to perform well and hoped that it would translate into winning, and it did. We just took it one shot at a time and stayed in it,” she said.

“I felt like there were a couple of shots that were off and it gave (Team Carey) an out but they also made really good shots and were setting up those deuces really well. Overall, we had some really good shots going home and that’s all we could ask for.”

Gary Coderre, coach for Team Sweeting, was very pleased with his athletes, and said he was also pleased to be able to share in their victory.

“I think we are a team that really works as a unit. They understand what the responsibilities are and they were doing that to the best of their ability. The girls are very disciplined,” Coderre said.

“What can I say about a team that just went through two back-to-back Alberta Championships without a loss? They’re a great group of athletes to work with. As a coach I’m blessed – they do all the work and I get to share in some of the glory.”

Olson-Johns was also thrilled with her team’s winning performance. She said it is incredible to have earned the right to represent Alberta at the national competition level. She said that Alberta is one of the toughest provinces to compete in, and that she is very excited about the upcoming national competition.

For five days, the Lacombe Arena was filled with entertainment and energy. Central Alberta singer Randi Boulton performed one evening, as well as Freetown, Fast Freddie and Porter Music. Comedian Thelma Snell and an Elvis Tribute Show were also part of the week’s entertainment.

Don Gullekson, chair of the 2015 Alberta Scotties Tournament committee said that after nearly three years of planning and preparation, it was great to see the final results. He and his committee worked tirelessly to transform the arena into an official Scotties patch, and he said that overall, the tournament was a great thing for the City of Lacombe to have been able to host.

Team Sweeting will soon be taking their skill to the national competition in Moose Jaw in February to play for the title of Team Canada.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com